Tired of pulling muscles, feeling tight, or not performing at your best? Change the way you warm-up and you’ll improve your athletic perfomance.
Having already discussed the foundations that make functional training truly functional, let’s now pair it with a functional warm-up to really help you maximize your results on, and off, the field. This warm-up won’t take more than 10 minutes, but I guarantee it’ll leave you more prepared for your workout than you’ve ever been.
There’s been much debate within the strength and conditioning community about the benefits of dynamic stretching vs. the benefits of static stretching, so this warm-up simply includes both. Debate won. First we do what’s called a “Back Butt” stretch routine where we stretch out the back side of the hip. After that, we do a correlating “Front Butt” stretch routine for both the right and left hips. The idea here is to stretch the hip out in all three planes of motion, with arm motions in each plane. By putting the hip into either flexion or extension, and by driving movement in all three planes, you’re giving your hips the mobility necessary to prep for the ranges of motion they’re about to experience during your lift.
The next part of the warm up is the Lunge Matrix with Arm Drivers. After the Lunge Matrix, our athletes perform a squat matrix that uses the same three-dimension philosophy. There’s a tweak for each plane to give our players the mobility needed for every squatting position they’ll encounter during play. We have them squat with the right foot forward, left foot forward, feet together, feet out wide, toes turned in, and toes turned out.
With butt stretches, the lunge matrix, and the squat matrix out of the way, let’s finish up with a skipping warm up. Find 20 yards of space to skip forwards and backwards. Make seven trips, with the first one being just a regular forward and backward skip. Then use a different foot tweak from the squat matrix for the next four trips (toes in, toes out, feet narrow, feet wide). Since you’ll be skipping forward with your feet crossing, it’s hard to keep either right foot forward or left foot forward the whole time. To ensure that we cover all three planes, we have our athletes skip short and high, then low and long for the sagittal tweaks.
And that’s it. 10 minutes and you’ll be on your way to improved strength and flexibility. Best part is, tune in next week for a look at a UT functional workout to truly get you headed in the right direction.